CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls lacrosse team has been working overtime this week with three straight games that required extra time to complete.
The latest was a heartbreaker for the Lady Cougars, a 15-14 defeat at the hands of previously winless West Morris at Haas Field on Friday.
"All three games this week went into overtime," Chatham coach Hilary Renna said. "West Morris outworked us. They wanted it more the whole game. They deserved to win."
Paige Burton scored two of her five goals in overtime for West Morris (1-5), including the sudden-victory goal in the third extra session.
Chatham began the week by defeating Oak Knoll in overtime, then dropped an overtime decision on the road to Ridgewood. Chatham (3-5) could have been the team celebrating if not for West Morris goalie Renee Gonzalez.
In the final minute of the second three-minute overtime period, Kristen Maiorano (4 goals, 1 assist) of Chatham had her shot saved by Gonzalez. Alex Frenzel then regained possession by picking up the ground ball in front of the cage. The ball found its way to Emily Wingate, who faked high and shot low. Gonzalez came up with the play of the game in stopping Wingate's shot.
In the first sudden-victory period, Wingate's bid to win the game was also thwarted by Gonzalez.
"We definitely had a lot of opportunities that we could have done better on," Renna said. "You have to play the full game. I think each game is a little different. This game it was a general lack of desire. We didn't show up to play."
Burton's goal in the first overtime had given West Morris a 14-13 edge. But Bridget Ballard fed Maddy Bowles, who put her chance away for a 14-14 tie with 22 seconds left in the period.
Maggie O'Neill's goal off a feed from Ballard had staked Chatham to a 13-12 edge with 2:01 left in regulation. Then West Morris connected to make it 13-13 with 1:09 to go. Maiorano's bid to win the game with a last-second shot was blocked by Gonzalez. That put the Lady Cougars into overtime for the fourth time this season. They stand 2-2 in OTs.
Chatham seemed to find its stride in the final 51.5 seconds of the first half when the Lady Cougars scored three times to take an 8-7 edge into the break. Bowles ignited the spurt with a goal assisted by Wingate. Ballard (4 goals, 4 assists) then scord unassisted with 32.8 seconds showing.
In the seconds leading up to the last play of the half, Bowles picked up a ground ball and fed it to Morgan Sullivan, who then passed to Frenzel. The sophomore's shot beat the horn to give Chatham the lead.
Ballard and Maiorano continued the run when they scored consecutive goals in the first minute of the second half, boosting the Chatham lead to 10-7.